There are several ferry services to get to Rottnest. We would have liked to book a ferry + bike combo, but they were sold out already. I bought us ferry-only tickets for the express ferry, leaving Fremantle B Shed at 10:15 am. We took the Transperth train from our lovely Airbnb to Fremantle. The ferry was full, but there is a seat for everyone. The ride was only 45 minutes long.
Rottnest is pretty similar to the Waiheke Island in New Zealand that we visited last year. In Waiheke, we didn’t rent bikes, but I had wished we had. This time, we were prepared.
We got to Rottnest and immediately went to Pedal and Flipper to pick up our bikes. I had made a reservation online, and it was a good thing I did. We were able to cut the queue. While we were testing out our bikes, one of the staff told the people in line that they only had enough bikes to get to about this spot in the line. Even with a reservation, they were out of bike locks and helmets were slim pickings.
I would have liked to get out to Cathedral Rocks at the far end of the island to see the seals, but it turns out my butt was not up for that distance of cycling. As it was, we did a loop along the south coast, up to Wadjemup Lighthouse, and back into town with an out and back to the Bathurst Lighthouse. There are a lot of hills, particularly on the side road to Wadjemup. Often we saw people getting off their bikes and walking it up. I finally gave it at Wadjemup and walked my bike a bit (because oh the burn!).
It was a lovely and very scenic ride. Biking enables you to stop where ever you want, not just at the bus stops (of which there were only a few).
Wadjemup Lighthouse is the first lighthouse on Rottnest Island. It was completed in 1849. There is a tour of the lighthouse (for $8 per person) which we opted not to do. Instead, we found great humor in a plaque that read:
“Rottnest Island has been the brick on the doorstep of Fremantle which trips up any drunken or unwary captain.”
While Rottnest Island is beautiful and well worth a visit, it just wouldn’t be the same without seeing a quokka, or two, or dozens. Quokkas are a small marsupial, about the size of a housecat. While they live elsewhere in WA, they a most famously inhabitants of Rottnest Island.
Our first encounter with a quokka I learned something valuable; they have a good sense of smell. I had our lunches in my backpack and when I squatted down, taking pictures, the quokkas could smell it. Basically, they tried to climb up me or onto my backpack, looking for food.
We did NOT feed the quokkas, with the exception of one quokka who was willing to eat leaves when I picked and offered them.
Don’t think that the quokka can’t get into your backpack; their noses are pretty small and can wiggle their way in. I spent most of my time with the quokkas trying to take a picture with them while simultaneously trying to keep them out of my backpack.
…a bathing suit! Some of these beaches were so beautiful, we really didn’t expect it. Also, snorkel gear would have been great, particularly at Henrietta Rocks, where there is a sunken vessel to snorkel.